Research and reports

As a core part of its policy advocacy, Coram Children’s Legal Centre undertakes research to highlight the legal issues faced by children and young people, alongside recommendations to improve the protection of their rights. Recent research and reports include:

Championing Children’s Rights for 40 years

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Coram Children’s Legal Centre. Read out latest publication on how we have been championing children’s rights and access to justice for four decades and our plans for the future.

Children left out? Securing children’s rights to stay in the UK beyond Brexit

With one year to go until the close of the EU settlement scheme, Children left out? looks beneath the headline numbers to ask why the proportion of children granted status under the EU settlement scheme seems so low, and what obstacles stand between children and young people and the immigration status and permanence they need. This report focuses on those children who will find it hardest to secure status: children from outside the EEA whose right to apply is through a family member, children in the care system, children in alternate care arrangements, and children in the criminal justice system. Following on from Uncertain FuturesChildren left out? draws on our advice and casework and makes concrete policy recommendations for national and local government to ensure that no children are left undocumented by the EU settlement scheme deadline on 1 July 2021.

Uncertain futures: the EU settlement scheme and children and young people’s right to remain in the UK

‘Uncertain futures’ outlines the barriers children and young people face in accessing the EU settlement scheme, some of which are the result of policy decisions made by the Home Office in designing the scheme, and others which are pre-existing practical obstacles. There are more than 900,000 EU national children in the UK, and many tens of thousands are vulnerable to becoming undocumented as a result of the settlement scheme. This report draws on CCLC’s advocacy for the rights of children in the UK because of their EU law rights in the development of the EU settlement scheme, and its experiences of a pilot phase of the settlement scheme aimed at vulnerable groups.

Published March 2019

Rights without remedies: legal aid and access to justice for children

‘Rights without remedies’ draws on evidence from CCLC’s legal advice services. It finds that the removal of most of family, immigration and education law from the scope of legal aid has caused thousands of miscarriages of justice that have led to the breakup of families, the costly and often unlawful exclusion of children from education, and widespread destitution and exploitation among migrant families. Across all of these areas of law, public awareness of people’s rights and legal remedies is low and sometimes actually falling. This is especially true of the government’s intended safety net, the exceptional case funding system, which is in urgent need of reform so that children’s cases are considered in line with child rights standards.

Published February 2018

‘This is my home’: Securing permanent status for long-term resident children and young people in the UK

‘This is my home’ highlights the fate of hundreds of thousands of children and young people who, despite having been brought up in the UK, are trapped in precarious situations because they are unable to secure permanent status. As well as detailing obstacles to children achieving permanent status, the report makes concrete recommendations for positive policy changes that would allow children to integrate fully into their communities and move forwards with their lives. This should be read alongside our primer on existing legal routes for children, ‘Securing permanent status‘.

Published June 2017


Always Migrants, Sometimes Children: A mapping of the reception and protection of unaccompanied children in the United Kingdom

As part of the EU CONNECT Project this report considered the roles and responsibilities of actors, and the ways in which they work together, to respond to the situation of unaccompanied children of third country origin in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Published September 2014

Growing Up In A Hostile Environment: The rights of undocumented migrant children in the UK

Research and reportsA recent estimate put the number of undocumented migrant children in the UK at 120,000, with over half born here. Many of these children have spent the whole or most of their lives in the UK. Drawing on the work of Coram Children’s Legal Centre through its Migrant Children’s Project advice line, outreach services and legal casework, this report examines the ways in which lack of immigration status is an obstacle to children and young people accessing their basic rights and entitlements and the difficulties this group face in obtaining essential legal advice and regularising their status.

Published November 2013

Happy Birthday? Disputing the age of children in the immigration systemResearch and reports

Children who arrive alone in the UK are regularly disbelieved about how old they are and can spend many years without access to education or appropriate support, or end up in unsupervised accommodation with adults or in adult immigration detention centres. The only way to challenge this treatment is to pursue costly and protracted legal proceedings. This report examines the age assessment process and the practical and emotional impact of age disputes on young people in the immigration system.

Published May 2013

Navigating the System: Advice provision for young refugees and migrants

Research and reportsThis report by the Migrant Children’s Project looks at the complex administrative and legal processes that separated children and young people have to navigate and the range of professionals who can offer advice and guidance to them. The report finds that many legal advice and support services are under strain, facing serious financial challenges and an uncertain future, putting these children and young people at risk.

Published May 2012


Legal practice guides

Research and reportsSeeking Support: a guide to the rights and entitlements of separated children

Seeking Support is a comprehensive guide produced by the Migrant Children’s Project to provide general, practical advice to professionals on how to support separated children and young people to realise their rights and access their entitlements.

The fifth edition of the guide was published in March 2017.

Securing permanent status: existing legal routes for children and young people without leave to remain in the UK

This guide was first published in 2013 to outline to individuals, organisations and policy-makers the legal routes through which children and young people can attain status in the UK where they are currently undocumented. The updated paper considers the possible routes to regularisation for those without status, including citizenship, EEA rights and applications inside and outside the Immigration Rules. This is a primer for those seeking to understand legal avenues available to the undocumented children described in ‘This is my home‘.

Published June 2017